Pessimists who predict a racial apocalypse in the United States base their judgment largely on two assumptions. First, they assume a rigid polarization of blacks and whites. This means viewing each racial group as an undifferentiated mass that is not subject to internal conflicts out of which might emerge new and unforeseen political strategies. Second, they assume that the evils leading to such a polarization are irremediable: the society, even if in the past it has accepted significant reforms, is seen as no longer capable of responding to the demands now being made upon it.
There is some truth in each assumption. America is more racially polarized today than at any time in its history, and one result is that there hardly exists a political consensus that the country needs a massive social reconstruction. Without such a reconstruction, polarization will probably increase. Blacks will become more frustrated and violent, whites more resistant and repressive.
But one di...
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